Choosing the best domain name hosting / registrar is a tough and often all too confusing process. It’s tough to make a simple comparison because there is no such thing as an absolute “best domain name provider” There is only the domain name hosting that is right for you considering all the tradeoffs.
The considerations include, but are not limited to, your budget, your domain management needs, your brand preferences, how long you plan on owning the domain and more.
Based on my experience working with many domain registrars, there are a few that are a good fit for most people.
Best Domain Registrar / Hosting Choices
Focused on specific options?
Considerations for Comparing the Best Domain Name Registrar / Hosting
A domain name registrar is any company that has a relationship with ICANN (the institution that governs Internet addresses) to reserve & manage domain names.
It sounds simple – like anyone and everyone could do it. But like retailers of a product, there are tradeoffs, choices & considerations that you make to choose the best domain name registrar for you. Here’s the considerations that I look at.
Number of Domains
Are going to be managing 100 domain names or 1? And even if you are starting with 1, do you plan on expanding? If so, you’ll want & appreciate customer service and efficient management.
Length of Domain Ownership
Domain name registrars are trustees in a way. Are you buying a domain name for a quick side project – or projects that you hope to last years into the future?
Some websites owners log into their domain registrar exactly once, change a setting, and never log in again. Others need to change settings more frequently for multiple domains; manage administrative contacts and add products to multiple domains – they’ll value a clean, efficient domain management interface more.
Customer service costs money to do well. How much do you value it? Is live chat enough or do you want phone support?
You domain registrar is like a trustee for your name on the Internet. Do you trust them to protect it, secure it and generally not screw you over? Does the company’s values say something about it’s internal culture? Does the company value privacy and security – or are they just trying to get the next upsell?
The only required fee in domain registration is the ICANN fee. Everything else is up to the domain name provider’s business model. Are you looking for rock bottom discounts or overall value? What does the domain name’s renewal price? Are you buying short term or long-term? Do you want to pay separately for WHOIS privacy protection or do you want it bundled?
If you decide to leave, how easily do you want to leave? How simple do you want the process to transfer a domain in?
Often there is a tradeoff between design and features. Do you want raw features or better design? How much do you value user-friendliness? Do clear buttons and a friendly tone matter to you – or do you just want solid functionality? Do you also want complementary products like email, website builders, or WordPress hosting?